Financial Planning

Financial Planning

Catalogs With Instant Credit Tricks And Traps

By Kelly Miller

They are everywhere! Buy it today, and dont pay anything for six months! No payments, no interest until 2010. Some businesses will tell you whatever you want to hear in order to get you in their doors and buying their products. Bad credit? Low credit? No problem they say. But how can they say that? How do people with credit problems end up with a new line of credit?

One of the answers for getting you to buy is a common line of catalogs instant credit offers. This is a type of credit that stores, chains or catalogs offer for purchasing their products. What you dont know about a catalog credit account can hurt you financially. It is important to understand all the terms and conditions of any credit agreement you sign. Creditors are not always going to tell you everything you need to know. Some will only tell you what you want to hear in order to buy.

There are pitfalls to a catalog credit account. One of those pitfalls is that because a company uses this type of account with clients who often have low credit scores, they are a higher risk type of credit. Higher risk has higher cost, and the lender will pass the higher cost along to you.

Another item to be aware of is what kind of account you are opening. Does your agreement require equal installment payments with prearranged due dates? Or is your account a revolving credit account that is accruing interest with every month the balance is unpaid?


If you think you are opening an account with predetermined interest and installment payments, be sure that is what you sign before you make your purchase. Otherwise you could end up paying hundreds of dollars more than you planned on as interest accrues while you make monthly payments. Read your terms and conditions!

Dont be fooled if your lender sends you a Visa or Master Card or other brand name credit card when you open a catalog account. You cannot use that card for purchases outside the limits defined at the time of your initial purchase. Even as you pay off the balance and have credit available on that card, the card is only good for merchandise from the original vendor. Just because it says Visa doesnt mean you can use it anywhere Visa is accepted. Sometimes these catalog credit accounts are presented as a standard line of credit. READ the fine print before you sign.

Another trick that may fool you is that you get approved for a much larger credit amount than your purchase. Again, that doesnt mean you can use the account to pay for something else. You can only use it with that particular vendor. By the way, they do that on purpose, hoping you will spend more money than you originally intended.

Another potential catch to the catalog credit account is that some require a membership fee to join. Another is that they require a minimum purchase amount before you can be dropped from their membership rolls. Until you meet that minimum, you are on the hook to keep purchasing from them. That means they keep sending you products you may not want, while they keep hoping you wont return them. If you dont, you owe them the whole purchase price. You will find book vendors and music vendors that employ this type of catalog account.

Something else to remember in your consideration of opening credit is that there are scams out there that can defraud you out of a LOT of money. While you may think you could never get scammed, think again.

Some companies present themselves as catalog credit companies, but they are out to take your money and offer you nothing in return. Here are a few warning signs.

NEVER respond to a credit solicitation you receive by email. These are usually crooks looking for easy prey. They send an application to your email that they have either purchased from someone else or phished. These applications sound too good to be true, especially if you are struggling to get credit and have a low credit score or have never had credit before.

NEVER send money to a potential lender as security to open a catalog credit account. Again, these people will have vanished off the face of the earth before you realize you have been conned. A reputable company will not ask you for money up front in order to issue you credit. If they think they cant trust you, they wont give you credit.

NEVER pay an activation fee for a card you receive in the mail. This one has happened to people I have talked to. You receive a real-looking, plastic credit card, complete with the magnetic stripe on the back and imprinted numbers and your name. It looks legit, and they only want $39 to activate your $7500 line of credit. Dont do it! You will never see your $39 again, and youll never find them either!

Catalog credit lines are different from your typical line of credit. Some people recommend that you pursue a catalog credit account if you are looking to rebuild your credit or if youve never had credit and want to begin to build it.

Be aware that there may be some pitfalls on any offer of credit. Always fully understand what you agree to in any credit offer and read all the documentation.

About the Author: New Clean Credit is a website that provides free information on Credit Repair and other financial advice. You can find out more about how to improve your credit score and credit information here:

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Grow Your Retirement Income While Retired}

Submitted by: Edwin Brown

Most retired people don’t want to work full time. After all, they are “retired”. But many find themselves in a situation like an acquaintance of mine, John, whom I was surprised recently to meet in the aisle of a big box home improvement store.

John was wearing an orange apron, which immediately identified him as a company employee. Now, John is a very knowledgeable guy. He is a good carpenter and has other homebuilding skills he can tap when needed. He had done an extensive remodel of his house a couple years ago, and that is where I first met him.

“John, you’re working here?” I said. He smiled and asked how I was. And I queried him further.

“How do you like it here?” I asked.

“It’s not bad,” he said. “But pretty long hours.”

We chatted a little while and then I went on my way. My first thought was that the store had a prize of an employee in John. His expertise regarding construction and his personal drive would be a great asset. But John was supposed to be retired. And here he was commuting some distance from home and working full time. Was that really what he wanted to do? Somehow I didn’t think so.


I wonder – how many Americans of retirement age have left careers behind and are now forced to work at relatively low-paying jobs just to be able to survive financially? I see them all the time, and I think there MUST be a better way to make up for small Social Security pensions and inadequate retirement savings.

Here I want to highlight a possible way out for many of our older senior citizens (and can work for younger folks, too).

One thing a long working career gives someone is experience, and probably expertise to go along with it. Is there a way he or she can turn that hard-earned expert knowledge into income without resuming full time work? And better yet, with an income potential that may exceed their dreams?

In fact, there is. Developing a thriving home grown business is one real option. But with a caveat.

A lot of home-based and online business opportunities exist out there in cyberspace. But how do you find a genuine, WORKABLE business idea that is a good fit for YOU?

In one sense, the answer is simple: develop your OWN business based on your personal experience and expertise. (Or maybe based on a strong interest or hobby.) The personal fit is assured; now it is only necessary to come up with the workable part.

With the internet, the world of opportunity has opened wide. It is now quite possible to take your personal expertise/passion and develop a unique and thriving online business providing an income in some cases greater than your previous career income.

But, you might say, I’m no internet or website expert. How do I do this? Where does the money come from? I really don’t see how this could work for me at all.

All legitimate concerns and questions. And fortunately for us there are good workable answers. The internet is a gold mine of great information and tools that even an utter newbie (like I was) can take and use to create something to be proud of.

What you will be aiming at is to find a niche market that you can exploit with your own unique knowledge. A market waiting for the input that perhaps only you, or not too many others, can provide.

For the most part, people go online first to find information, not to buy stuff. You as an expect in your niche provide them with GOOD USEFUL CONTENT – the tips/information they are seeking. Your visitors will come to see and trust you as an expert. So when you do offer them something to buy that will take them that last mile to what they want, they are much more willing to lay down their money.

Good programs exist to teach you how to do market research, how to see if your niche idea has real monetary potential, how to build and structure a website that is attractive and welcoming to potential customers, how to drive lots of traffic to your site, how to set up ways to earn money from the site.

Plus free courses to teach you how to write good content, how to set up profitable relationships with other online business people, and much more.

Setting up your own profitable online business is a real adventure. Many, many people – old and young – are doing this successfully. Will you be one of them?

About the Author: Edwin Brown is a building contractor moving toward retirement himself. To see how he is building an online business based on his 36 years in the construction field, go to his webpage at


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